Archives for category: Factory Farming

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which takes place in Yulin, China every summer solstice, consists of the torture and slaughter of countless animals for the purpose of consumption.  It is believed that the more the animal suffers, the tastier the meat.


Dogs grabbed off the streets, often stolen from pet owners, and others raised specifically for this dark industry, are spared no mercy.  In fact, witnesses have attested to observing the tormentors exhibit enjoyment while meting out the torture.  During this display, perpetrated in public, children are not protected from being exposed to the horrors.


Animals destined for slaughter are crammed so tightly into cages, that many have their legs purposely broken in order to fit them all in.  They are denied food, water, vet care; and are forced to suffer through extremely harsh conditions both while held captive and when transported to their destination in cages stacked so high on the trucks, that they suffer crushed bones when crates are roughly tossed onto the ground as the workers don’t bother to exercise care or compassion when unloading.


Among the torture witnessed, animals have been crucified with nail guns and disemboweled while still alive and shrieking in agony.  Those who do not die quickly are left to slowly perish, suffering every minute of their last moments on earth.


Others are hung by ropes or meat hooks through the jaw and burned (blow torched), beaten, or butchered.  Many are boiled alive in vats of water, meant to loosen the fur.  Workers then scrape off the fur with a knife.  Commercial slaughterhouses use agitator machines filled with boiling water to spin and rip off the fur, often while the animal is still conscious.


While this practice is deemed as “tradition” or “culture” by those who support it, the global community has responded with outrage.  Chinese government officials seem to be distancing themselves while the rest of the world is denouncing this festival and demanding that the dog and cat meat trade in participating Asian countries be banned.


Farmers who derive their livelihood from the sale of dogs and cats destined for consumption are often willing to end their enterprise once they are assisted in replacing this cruelty with another form of income that does not involve harming animals.


Organizations such as Humane Society International and Soi Dog Foundation, are among many groups that are working to rescue animals, provide education to societies and businesses, and compel the Chinese government to take action.


A Los Angeles businessman, Marc Ching, has been actively traveling overseas to conduct his own mission of documenting the horrors, sharing his footage with the world, and rescuing animals.  He has additionally helped tear down one slaughterhouse with a promise to the owner that he will help him establish a noodle restaurant.  Marc’s testimony can be viewed here:


While we are horrified by the brutality, we are reminded that in the U.S. and other countries, we consume cows, pigs, and chickens in much the same manner.  They are raised in inhumane conditions, tortured and mutilated, and sent to a horrifying slaughter where many die piece by piece as they are being butchered alive.  Choosing a plant-based diet is not only humane, but healthier for humans, the planet; and certainly in the better interests of animal welfare.

Annoula WylderichYulin-Dog-Paws-Tied


Fish can suffer extreme cruelty as much as any other animal destined for our plates. They may be dragged for hours behind trawlers and crushed to death in nets. Commercial fishing nets, comprised of thin mesh, slice into the flesh of many fish, causing blood loss and strangling them. When they’re dragged from the ocean depths, they undergo excruciating decompression, often resulting in ruptures to their swim bladders, eyes popping out, or their stomachs being pushed through their mouths. When they’re hauled onto ships, they slowly suffocate on board.  Others experience having their throats and bellies sliced open while still conscious, or are thrown into freezers where they will suffer prolonged deaths.

According to studies, finned fishes and crustaceans (crabs and lobsters) can feel pain. Dr. Donald Broom, animal welfare adviser to the British government, has stated that, “Anatomically, physiologically, and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals.” It’s a sobering thought to keep in mind next time we’re tempted to order lobster or crab, considering how they are prepared. Really, none escape suffering.

Since the commercial fishing industry has emptied the oceans of specific targeted fish, the seafood industry is consequently raising fish in contained fish farms (aquaculture), using tanks on land or cages in the ocean.  Tightly packed fish repeatedly bump into walls and each other, which in turn causes painful sores and damage to fins. Since they’re forced to live in their own waste with thousands of other fish, the tremendous amount of feces in their enclosures leads to outbreaks of disease and parasites.  To keep the fish alive in these conditions, large quantities of chemicals and antibiotics are poured into the water (guess who ultimately ends up ingesting these?). When fully grown, the fish are killed by having their stomachs cut open or they suffocate when the water in the tanks is drained away. Larger fish like tuna are killed by repeated stabbing. Many, such as catfish, are skinned alive, dying from shock.

The commercial fishing industry has wreaked havoc on the environment and caused irreversible damage.  To find out more about the suffering and environmental devastation that fish farms cause, visit

Those who eat fish for health reasons should be aware that the EPA revealed that women who ate fish twice a week had seven times the blood mercury concentrations than those of women who avoided fish. Mercury is known to cause severe health problems which include memory loss, brain damage, and damage to a developing fetus.  The PCBs, mercury, and other toxins found in fish can remain in your body for many years.

Reconsidering our food choices involves making the decision of whether or not we want to be complicit in the extreme suffering and misery of other living, feeling beings. Eating animals and their byproducts is essentially paying others to commit acts of cruelty for you for a momentary taste on the lips, at the cost of another’s life.  The question of adequate protein intake is usually raised by those who are not vegetarian/vegan.  Surprisingly, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegetarians do not have higher levels of anemia than meat-eaters do.  The consequences of eating a high protein diet has been compared to pouring acid on your bones, due to the damage it can inflict.

For those concerned about getting adequate protein, there is some protein in just about every food; in any case, the necessary protein requirement guidelines previously established have been cited as being too high.  Numerous nutritional experts have advocated that a vegan diet is the choice of eating for good health, weight maintenance and disease prevention.  If you want to cut down or eliminate animals/fish from your diet, Vegan Outreach and Peta offer plenty of great information and guidance as well as additional referrals to other information sources. You can also contact Physicians for Responsible Medicine ( to request “The Protein Myth” article.

Another compelling reason to examine what we choose to eat is the factory farming contribution to global problems that will impact the future of the earth and its inhabitants. Let’s consider the rising temperatures and sea levels, the melting icecaps and glaciers, the shifting weather patterns and ocean currents.  Climate change is the most serious challenge facing us today.  It’s undeniable if you look around at what has been transpiring all over the world, these last number of years.  The livestock sector is a MAJOR player and is responsible for higher gas emissions than even the transport industry.

To quote my friend, esteemed Professor Tom Regan, “In a democracy like ours, the will of the majority (usually) is where the power is.  That’s our challenge: to make animal rights the perspective of the majority.  All of us — you and I — will be needed to make this happen.”  And by doing so, we are taking control of our own health, our environment and the future of our families.  WE must take the responsibility for our welfare, our earth and the creatures who live among us and who value their lives as much as we value our own.  I propose that we build upon the movement towards a more compassionate society by encouraging a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  The rewards are many.

– Annoula Wylderich


More poultry is raised and killed for food than the total of all other farm animals combined; however, there are no federal laws protecting them from abuse. 

Chickens raised in captivity for our food spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy sheds or cages with high levels of ammonia (from waste accumulation) that burn their skin, eyes, and respiratory tracts.   They share these quarters with tens of thousands of other birds, all of whom are given a steady stream of drugs to grow so large so fast that many experience organ failure or become crippled under their own weight.  Chickens and turkeys have the ends of their sensitive beaks cut off with a burning-hot blade, but no anesthesia, to prevent them from injuring one another in their frustrating and overcrowded confinement.   They experience pain for weeks afterwards, making it difficult to eat; many starve to death.  These animals are unable to breathe fresh air, exercise or engage in their basic behaviors which results in severe physical and psychological maladies.  They are routinely subjected to torment by industry workers who have been documented beating, whipping, spray-painting, stomping, sexually abusing, slamming them into walls and urinating on them.  Birds often have their legs and wings broken when they’re shoved into the transport trucks; further, they’re shipped through all weather extremes without food or water.

Undercover investigators have witnessed birds with broken legs and wings and open wounds shackled on the slaughter line.  Others were seen writhing on the floor in agony for hours.  Workers ripped the heads off birds who were trapped inside transport cages.  In 2005, a PETA investigator observed many birds who had been mangled by the throat-cutting machines, yet were still alive when they reached the scalding tanks.  Shackled upside down by their feet, they were systematically immersed into the tanks, where they were either boiled alive or drowned.

Egg-laying hens are typically packed inside cages so tightly that they can’t even spread their wings.  Due to constantly scraping against the wire cages, their feathers are worn away, while their bodies become battered and bloodied.  The cages (typically less than half a square foot of floor space) contribute to asphyxiation or dehydration. 

Decomposing corpses are frequently found in cages with live birds. The birds live this way before being sent to slaughter.  Once at the slaughterhouse, they are roughly pulled from their transport crates and shackled by their feet upside down on a moving rail.  They experience untold suffering as speed is emphasized over humane consideration. 

Male chicks, who are of no value to the egg industry, are typically gassed, suffocated, or ground up alive.  Many dead and dying birds are found in dumpsters behind hatcheries.  Free-range farms, while a small improvement over factory farms, are by no means free of suffering.

In the case of foie gras production, severely movement-restricted ducks are violently handled and force-fed enormous quantities of food daily via a long pipe that is rammed down their throat.  The ducks are haggard, depressed, sick; and many do not even have the strength to raise their heads.  They tremble from fear and illness while they await feeding times.

The giant corporations that profit from factory farming spend millions of dollars trying to convey the image of animals living an idyllic barnyard existence.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Try to get a tour of a slaughterhouse and ask to see ALL the areas.  Go to a factory farm and ask for an impromptu tour.  Don’t make prior appointments for either if you want to see the reality versus a contrived scenario.  Or click on the links below to get an idea of what you would see:

The USDA does a poor job of enforcing regulations.  This is not only detrimental to the animals’ welfare, but to YOURS.  According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, two-thirds of grocery-store chicken meat is contaminated with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and/or E. coli.  The overuse of antibiotics on farm animals has been linked to this bacteria as well as to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), threatening our ability to treat illness and disease in humans.  This is especially true for the most vulnerable among our society, including the elderly and children.  The FDA has issued a draft guidance document acknowledging this connection between human health and antibiotic use on factory farms; ironically, they’ve made unenforceable recommendations to limit the use of certain drugs.  Do you need to wonder whose side they’re on?  Despite the potentially serious threats to human health, approximately 70 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are used by the animal agriculture industry.  This use has become necessary to maintain the cruel and unnatural conditions of factory farms; thus, agriculture interests have pushed for relaxed regulations.  Now, the FDA is considering a rule that may make it easier for factory farmers to obtain and use these drugs.  No big surprise here, folks.  Now would not be the time to weaken antibiotic regulations as the many negative effects of factory farming on human health, animal welfare and the environment are becoming undeniable. 

Although hidden from public view, the abject cruelty that occurs on factory farms is being exposed thanks to the excellent work of animal activists and advocacy organizations; and as more and more people are taking a look at how horribly farmed animals are treated and killed, they are deciding that it’s too cruel to support.  Fish aren’t exempt, by the way, and we’ll look at that industry in another post.

– Annoula Wylderich






Growing public concerns about cruel treatment of animals on factory farms has some food sellers labeling products to indicate that farm animals are being humanely treated.  These claims can be misleading and may not be in accordance with what consumers assume.

While some animals might suffer less than others, they still suffer at some point.  The “free-roaming” and “humanely treated” labels provide no assurance.  Hens in cage-free operations are crowded in barns by the thousands.  “Cage-free” doesn’t mean they have access to the outdoors; and “free-roaming” or “free-range” hens who do have outdoor access might likely be restricted, since there are no limits to flock size or definitions on the design of the outdoor area.  Further, the USDA relies solely upon the testimony of the producers (now, there’s a good “fox watching the hen house” analogy).

Male chicks are still thrown live into grinders or suffocated; and all hens in egg production have the ends of their beaks removed with hot blades and NO anesthesia, causing some to die of starvation and dehydration.  This also renders it painful for most of the others to eat and drink.

Ultimately, these birds still go to slaughter, where they experience cruel handling and botched kills where they end up shackled by their feet and likely scalded alive in the de-feathering tanks.  Imagine being hung upside down and going into a scalding hot tub of water head first.  We can’t tolerate the thought, yet we impose this on other feeling beings.

Dairy cows, no matter how the animals are raised, still wear out after just a few years in production due to the physical trauma of being constantly impregnated and producing milk.  Male calves, useless to the dairy industry, are either slaughtered or kept chained in dark crates for months before being slaughtered..  Eventually, all dairy cows are destined for brutal slaughter, no matter how they have been raised.

Ultimately, all factory farm animals experience the same unavoidable, horrific end at the slaughterhouse.  They are bled out by having their throats slit and many are literally butchered alive and die slowly, piece by piece.  No matter how well the animals may have been treated (and it’s a long stretch of the imagination to assume humane treatment), their lives are cut short violently, abruptly and painfully.  According to, “When animals are seen primarily as production units or commodities for sale (whether on factory farms or so-called ‘humane’ operations), the animals’ welfare tends to be secondary to economic concerns.”

Clearly, the only way to know we’re not supporting multiple forms of cruelty is to not consume animal flesh or commercial dairy products.  To find great egg  and dairy substitutes, simply search the web, your grocery store, or the websites of HSUS, PETA, Farm Sanctuary and PCRM, to name a few.

We can lead by example and help promote compassion by reducing or eliminating our consumption of flesh and its byproducts.  With so much information so readily available nowadays, it’s easier than ever to switch to a better way of eating that promotes good health and alleviates a lifetime of horrific misery and suffering for sentient beings.

– Annoula Wylderich



There’s a lot to be said about modern-day agribusiness and factory farming. . .and more than one reason to be concerned, especially if you choose to eat meat.  Consider this an introduction to a world that most consumers are sheltered from; an abyss to hell for the animals who must endure it and ultimately die in it.  The ramifications of our meat-eating society are many. . .significant harm to the environment, escalating costs of food prices, danger to public health, and extreme cruelty to animals.

If you consider yourself an environmentalist, you cannot do so and still eat meat.  Funneling crops and water through animals rather than using those resources directly is our country’s top way of wasting water and polluting.  More than half of all water used in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food.  A totally vegetarian diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.  Factory farms demand more water than all other users combined and produce 130 times as much waste as the entire human population of the United States.  Farming animals also requires more than one-third of all greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels used in the U.S. and has destroyed three-fourths of our topsoil, a permanent environmental catastrophe that can’t be corrected. It is predicted that we will begin to see the devastating fallout by 2050.  What are you planning to leave your children once we’ve ravaged the earth so badly that there is no solution, no turning around?  The future generation will have to deal with the aftermath of our actions and choices.

Meantime, let’s look at animal products from a health standpoint.  Animals (cows, pigs, veal, poultry) are injected with growth hormones.  Considering the fact that they would not ordinarily be able to continue to survive in their current filthy, feces-ridden, and unhealthy captive environment on the factory farms, dangerous chemicals are required, such as dioxins, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and even a toxic form of arsenic.  We eventually consume what the animals have ingested.  Germany currently has had issues with high levels of dioxin found in their meat products.  If you think the USDA is on your side, think again.  Random inspections have found feces in your meat, most likely from the kill floor of the slaughterhouses where your food has come from.
If the cancer-contributing chemicals alone aren’t reason enough to reconsider including animal products in your diet, how about the fact that there is no fiber in meat, but there’s certainly a boatload of fat which contributes to heart disease and obesity.  High protein diets only serve to make us fatter in the long run.  Only two percent of  vegetarians are obese, which is about one-ninth the figure for meat-eaters.

Keep reading, as the worst of this industry is about to be revealed to you. . .
The most compelling reason for eliminating living beings from our diets is the fact that factory farm animals (including fish) literally suffer to death.  They die piece by piece.  They are born and live in extreme confinement, overcrowding, filth and abuse.  They receive no veterinary care for their diseases or injuries.  They are tortured and eventually slaughtered in the most inhumane ways, due to the lack of sufficient laws or non-enforcement of existing laws.  The acts committed against them are so cruel, that if they were committed against dogs or cats, they would warrant felony cruelty charges in most states.  They are not afforded even the least bit of compassion that you’d think they deserve since they have been raised to sacrifice their lives for food.  How does one claim to love animals and to love their pet, yet turn around and eat a burger in the next moment?  Probably because most people don’t realize the ways in which factory farm animals are mistreated, and even fewer people witness the abuse or ultimate slaughter.  The general public would be appalled, as most people do agree that animals feel fear and pain.

In order to keep up with the demand for beef, pork and chicken, there is no way to maintain timely processing and still ensure that animals are stunned properly prior to their slaughter.  Consequently, pigs are submerged into scalding tanks while still alive and squealing; cows are dismembered and skinned while still breathing and feeling; chickens are dunked head-first into de-feathering tanks where they simultaneously drown and scald to death.  Not a pleasant thought or sight for us, but just imagine what they are going through.  In fact, my heart caught when I read about pigs who try to cuddle up to workers for protection before they are herded onto trucks headed for slaughter.  Those animals know what’s ahead and they are terrified and looking for a kind hand, even from those very workers who may have contributed to their suffering and are now forcing them to their brutal deaths.

If you think that “free-range” and “kosher” are any better, I suggest you go online and view Earthlings in addition to the other videos listed below with their links.

There are a number of excellent organizations that offer a vast amount of information about factory farm issues and are fighting on behalf of the animals’ welfare.  Among these groups are the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing.  These groups not only provide information and free literature, but actual investigative footage and reports that are hard to refute.  It’s easy to get guidance and helpful information from them, as well, about dietary choices that are so much better for us.

We can all  make a difference by cutting down or altogether avoiding flesh and animal byproducts.  Anyone can incorporate two days a week into their life to avoid all animal-related foods.  It’s good for our bodies, the planet, and animals.

Videos and links:


Farm to Fridge:

If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls (narrated by Sir Paul McCartney:

 – Annoula Wylderich








This topic is always difficult to write about, as I have viewed video footage and read numerous investigative reports of abuses too horrendous to comprehend.  It is unfathomable, the evil acts that man is capable of committing towards other living beings who have no voice or protection.

Factory farm animals are among the most exploited and abused of all species because animal welfare laws have excluded them.  Agribusiness, their politician friends, and the drug companies who profit have all hindered progress towards more humane treatment of factory farm animals since the current status quo is so profitable for them.
In the case of pigs, industrial pig farms now dominate the pork industry.  This has been harmful for family farmers, consumers, the environment, and especially the animals. Pigs are sensitive, intelligent, and clean animals who are naturally active and social.  It is said they have more cognitive ability than a three-year-old, a dog or a cat.  Where once family farms were able to raise them in near-natural, healthful environments, today’s factory farm profiteers utilize drug-dependent confinement methods.  Pregnant sows are housed in crates too small to even turn around.  They must give birth, nurse, eat, drink, defecate, sleep, stand, and lie in the same cramped space.  Imagine yourself being locked in a tiny closet for the rest of your life, where you are unable to even turn around.  

The piglets fare no better.  After approximately three weeks of age, they are torn from their mothers, have the ends of their teeth cut off with wire cutters, their tails docked (cut off), and ears notched without any pain relief or anesthesia. One-fourth of pigs suffer from mange and three-fourths have pneumonia by the time they reach the slaughterhouse.  The sheer number of animals makes it impossible for them to be given humane, painless deaths.  

In addition to filthy, cramped, overcrowded conditions while captive, they are also exposed to extreme abuse and torture by factory workers, much of which has been documented and is available to the public at the websites of the organizations below. Workers have been known to hook pigs in the eye and drag them, kick, beat, burn and sexually abuse them.  They have sliced off their snouts, stomped on them, bashed unwanted piglets against concrete floors, hung adult pigs until they are dead, and committed numerous other acts of violence that were completely unwarranted.  At one North Carolina farm, dead pigs had been left in pens with the living, while others were tossed in the aisles, barely alive and unable to reach food or water.  A Pennsylvania farm was abandoned, leaving over 800 pigs to perish in their confinement without any food or water. . .or hope of rescue.  

At the slaughterhouses, many pigs are improperly stunned and thus emerged head-first and shackled by a leg into the scalding tanks to soften their skin and remove their hair, while still alive.  Consequently, they are either scalded to death or drowned.

“Slaughterhouse,” by Gail Eisnitz details many slaughterhouse workers’ stories as well as her findings.  The book can be found at local bookstores or libraries.  

Cows experience the same abuse and misery as pigs, if not more.  Don’t be fooled by the advertisements that depict happy cows.  Dairy cows have been bred to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk.  As a result, production puts the animals’ bodies under extreme stress and at risk for infections.  They are slaughtered after three to five years, whereas normal cows can live in excess of 20 years.  None are spared from cruelty.  Many are castrated without the benefit of any anesthesia.  Calves raised for veal frequently live their entire lives tethered by their necks inside wooden crates where they can’t walk, turn around, or lie down.  

During transport, farm animals are packed inside trucks with inadequate ventilation and become stressed.  Many sustain injuries from being trampled by others.  They can be legally transported for up to 36 hours without food; transportation law is rarely, if ever, enforced.  Due to inadequate ventilation, many animals die from heat exhaustion; in the winter, they freeze to death on the trucks, many actually sticking to the floor and sides of the vehicle.  In some investigations, workers have been filmed tearing live cows from the trucks, leaving behind their flesh.

Every year, countless farm animals become sick and injured, rendering it difficult for them to stand or walk.  These animals, called “downers” by the industry, are often dragged wth chains or pushed with tractors and forklifts after suffering for hours or days without food, water or veterinary care.  Workers have routinely beaten or shocked them with electric prods, whipped them, kicked them, stomped on them or discarded them into the trash while still alive.

At the slaughterhouse, the frightened animals are herded onto the kill floor. Although Federal law requires that animals be stunned prior to slaughter, speed, not humane consideration guides the process; intolerable suffering is the rule. One method of stunning utilizes a captive bolt gun, which shoots a metal rod into the animal’s brain. Since animals struggle, the rod often misses its mark and the animal proceeds down the line, still conscious while it is being dismembered. Cows experience having their tails and hooves cut off, being skinned and hacked apart while still alive.  

While the Humane Slaughter Act dictates that cattle, pigs and other livestock are stunned, this law is routinely violated; most especially in the case of poultry which comprise more than 90% of those slaughtered annually for food and who are denied the minimal consideration of death before slaughter.

Please keep in mind that there IS something you can do if you feel the urgency in your hearts.  Among the most obvious is to avoid eating animal flesh and their byproducts. There are many excellent free guides available from PETA, HSUS or Vegan Outreach. It’s easy to cut down slowly and replace animal products with healthier alternatives.

The aforementioned organizations, as well as Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, and Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine are all excellent sources of additional information, as well as an opportunity to get involved in campaigns that raise awareness, promote legislation, and compel changes.  These hardworking organizations make it easy for you to take some positive action, whether you want to contribute financially to their ongoing work, or just spend a few minutes that will go a long way towards helping animals via their “Action Alerts.”  Never underestimate the power you have to bring about compassionate change to the world.

Some sources to get you started:;;;; (the video the meat industry doesn’t want you to see).

 – Annoula Wylderich







Dairy does not do a body good, no matter what the ads and commercials may tell you.  Dairy products are the most common cause of food allergies.  They are also loaded with fat, cholesterol, pesticides, drugs, pus. . . and might also come from cows who are infected with bovine leukemia virus, tuberculosis, and salmonella.  We may as well consider cow’s milk to be liquid cholesterol as its nutritional content is so similar to animal flesh.

Feeding dairy to human babies can cause constipation, intestinal bleeding, colic, and allergies.  Dr. Benjamin Spock stated in his final edition of Baby and Child Care that cow’s milk is for baby cows and infants should drink only human breast milk.  After four years of age, many people develop lactose intolerance which is the inability to digest milk sugar lactose.  Symptoms include cramping, gas and diarrhea.   In adults, dairy product consumption can lead to diseases, some cancers, osteoporosis, adult-onset diabetes and obesity.  With regard to concerns about osteoporosis, studies have shown that consuming more diary products does not prevent osteoporosis as much as reducing consumption of animal flesh (which leaches calcium from bones).  High protein products (meat, eggs, dairy) require the kidneys to work harder and cause calcium loss in the urine.  To learn more, check out

So where do you get your calcium?  It’s easy to do so solely from plant foods and calcium-fortified orange juice.  There are great nondairy substitutes that can take the place of milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream.  Most major supermarket chains carry these products.  (also see for more info.)

You may be wondering, as I was, why our government doesn’t disclose the health implications of dairy products instead of helping promote their consumption.  It seems they’ve chosen to work with the dairy lobby rather than protect consumers.  I doubt anyone has missed seeing the happy cows depicted in marketing venues.  This campaign was created in response to the public’s concerns for animal welfare, thanks to reports provided by animal welfare groups (check out

The “happy cow” propaganda was created by the California Milk Advisory Board, a government agency, nonetheless.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued for false advertising and lost because (conveniently) government bodies are exempt from Fair Advertising laws.

What actually happens to those “happy cows” on a dairy farm?  Most of those cows live the majority of their short lives in concrete stalls, attached to milking machines.  In order to regularly produce milk, they have to be repeatedly impregnated and pumped full of hormones (which the consumer ultimately ingests).  The calves are stolen from their mothers, chained by the neck, and placed in veal crates where they can’t move or see the light of day until slaughter (see

Although cows have a natural lifespan of over twenty years, dairy cows are slaughtered after about five years when they are no longer useful.  By then, they are so sick, that many cannot walk.  These “downers” are dragged, or pushed with forklifts, into the slaughterhouse.  Some are left to die slowly.  Much of the hamburger sold in the U.S. is made from slaughtered dairy cows, including most organic milk producers.  The abuses at dairy farms are the standard, NOT the exception.  Undercover investigations by a variety of animal protection organizations reveal workers subjecting horrible suffering upon innocent cows and their calves (watch Mercy for Animals’ Conklin Dairy Farm video at  It seems that some dairy farm workers have no problem beating these innocent animals with pipes, gouging them, stomping on the younger animals, kicking them, dragging them, mutilating them and otherwise making sure that their short miserable lives are hell on earth until they are inhumanely slaughtered.  There is no relief whatsoever for these unfortunate creatures.

Consumers have the power to end animal suffering by withdrawing our support from the egg, dairy and meat industries.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are complicit in the animals’ suffering when we pay others to torture and murder them in order to keep up with our demand for animal products.  By reducing or eliminating our consumption of animal products and requiring more non-flesh alternatives, we can influence the food industry to come up with better and more affordable products that are healthier for us and don’t involve animal cruelty.

Purchasing power is the strongest arsenal a consumer has and can help determine the direction that companies take.  Whether you decide to reduce or altogether eliminate animal products from your diet, you will help make a difference.  We can choose compassion over cruelty with the choices we make.

– Annoula Wylderich